Article Index

 
8. The World Turned Upside Down (by Leon Rosselson)

In 1649 to St George's Hill
A ragged band they called the Diggers came to show the people's will
They defied the landlords, they defied the laws
They were the dispossessed reclaiming what was theirs


We come in peace they said, to dig and sow
We come to work the lands in common and to make the waste grounds grow
This Earth divided we will make whole
So it will be a common treasury for all


The sin of property we do disdain
No man has any right to buy and sell the earth for private gain
By theft and murder they took the land
Now everywhere the walls spring up at their command


They make the laws to chain us well
The clergy dazzle us with heaven or they damn us into hell
We will not worship the god they serve
The god of greed who feeds the rich while poor men starve


We work, we eat together, we need no swords
We will not bow to the masters or pay rent to the lords
We are free men, though we are poor
You Diggers all stand up for glory, stand up now

From the men of property the orders came
They sent the hired men and troopers to wipe out the Diggers' claim
Tear down their cottages, destroy their corn
They were dispersed.
Only the vision lingers on
You poor take courage!
You rich take care!
This Earth was made a common treasury for everyone to share
All things in common, all people one
We come in peace.
The orders came to cut them down
 
9. Poor Paddy Works on the Railway
In eighteen hundred and forty one
Me corduroy breeches I put on
Me corduroy breeches I put on
To work upon the railway, the railway

[Chorus 1]
I'm weary of the railway,
Poor Paddy works on the railway

In eighteen hundred and forty two
From Hartlepool I moved to Crewe
And found myself a job to do
A working on the railway

[Chorus 2]
I was wearing corduroy breeches, digging ditches
Dodging hitches, pulling switches
I was working on the railway

In eighteen hundred and forty three
I broke me shovel across me knee
And went to work for the company
On the Leeds and Selby Railway
[Chorus 1]
In eighteen hundred and forty four
I landed on the Liverpool shore
Me belly was empty, me hands were sore
With working on the railway
[Chorus 2]

In eighteen hundred and forty five
When Daniel O'Connel he was alive
When Daniel O'Connel he was alive
When Daniel O'Connel he was alive
And working on the railway
[Chorus 1]
In eighteen hundred and forty six
I changed me trade from carrying bricks
I changed me trade from carrying bricks
To work upon the railway
[Chorus 2]
In eighteen hundred and forty seven
Poor Paddy was thinking of going to heaven
Poor Paddy was thinking of going to heaven
And working on the railway, the railway
[Chorus 1]

10. Fourpence a Day
The ore is waiting in the tubs, the snows upon the fell
Canny folk are sleeping yet, but lead is reet to sell
Come me little washer lad, come, lets away
We're bound to slav'ry for fourpence a day
Its early in the morning, we rise at five o'clock
And the little slaves come to the door to knock, knock, knock
Come, me little washer lad, come, lets away
Its very hard to work for fourpence a day
Me father was a miner and lived down in the town
Twas hard work and poverty that always kept him down
He aimed for me to go to school but brass he couldn't pay
So I had to go to the washing rake for fourpence a day
Me mother rises out of bed with tears on her cheeks
Puts my wallet on my shoulders which has to serve a week
It often fills her great big heart when she unto me did say

I never thought that thou would have worked for fourpence aday
Fourpence a day, me lad, and very hard to work
And never a pleasant look from a gruffy looking Turk
His conscience it may fail and his heart it may give way
Then he'll raise our wages to ninepence a day
 
11. Oh Dear Me
Oh dear me the mill gin fast
The poor wee shifters cannot get a rest
Shifting bobbins, coarse and fine
They fairly mak ye work for your ten and nine
Oh dear me I wish the day was done
Running up and down the pass is no fun
Shifting piece and spinning, warp weft and twine
To feed and clean me bairnie on ten and nine
Oh dear me the world's ill divided
Them that work the hardest are the least provided
I'm quite contented dark days are fine
But there's not much pleasure in living on ten and nine
 
12. The Four Loom Weaver (This Lancashire ballad was first sung after the Battle of Waterloo, when wages fell to anew low.)
I'm a four loom weaver as many a one knows
I've nowt to eat and I've worn our me clothes
My clogs are both broken and stockings I have none
Tha'd scarce give me tuppence for all I've got on
Owd Billy o't Bent he kept telling me long
We might have better time if I'd no'but howd me tongue
Well I've howden me tongue till I near lost me breath
And I feel in my heart that I'll soon clem to death
I'm a four loom weaver as many a one knows
I've nowt to eat and I've worn out me clothes
Owd Billy's awreet, he ne're were clemmed
And he ne're picked o'er in his life
We held on for six weeks, thought each day were the last
We've tarried and shifted till now we're quite fast
We lived upon nettles while nettles were good
And Waterloo porridge were t' best o' us food
I'm a four loom weaver as many a one knows
I've nowt to eat and I've worn out me clothes
Clogs we ha' none nor no looms to weave on
And I've woven myself to t' far end
Our Margaret declares if hoo'd got clothes to put on
Hoo'd go up to London to see the great man
And if things didna alter when there hoo had been
Hoo swears hoo would fight wi' blood up t' th' een
 

13. The Man That Waters The Workers' Beer
(Dedicated to Watneys, Courage, Youngers and other brewing monopolies who pay for something more poisonous to theworkers - the Tory party)

[Chorus]
I am the man, the very fat man
Who waters the workers' beer
Who waters the workers' beer
And what do I care if it makes them ill
If it makes them terribly queer
I've a car and a yacht and an aeroplane
And I waters the workers' beer
Now when I makes the workers' beer
I puts in strychnine
Some methylated spirits and a drop of paraffin

But since a brew so terribly strong
Might make them terribly queer
So I reaches my hand for the water tap
And I waters the workers' beer
[Chorus]
Now a drop of good beer is good for a man
Who's thirsty and tired and hot
And I sometime has a drop for myself
From a very special lot
But a fat and healthy working class
Is the thing that I most fear
So I reaches my hand for the water tap
And I waters the workers' beer
[Chorus]
Now ladies fair, beyond compare
And be ye maid or wife
Oh sometime lend a thought for one
Who leads a wandering life
The water rates are shockingly high
An' meth' is shockingly dear
And there isn't the profit there used to be
In watering the workers' beer
 

14. Song to the Men of England (by P.B. Shelley)

Men of England, wherefore plough
For the lords who lay ye low
Wherefore weave with toil and care
The rich robes your tyrants wear
Wherefore feed, and clothe, and save
From the cradle to the grave
Those ungrateful drones who would
Drain your sweat -nay, drink your blood
Wherefore, Bees of England, forge
Many a weapon, chain, and scourge
That these stingless drones may spoil
The forced produce of your toil
Have ye leisure, comfort, calm
Shelter, food, love's gentle ball
Or what is it ye buy so dear
With your pain and with your fear
The seed ye sow, another reaps
The wealth ye find, another keeps
The robes ye weave, another wears
The arms ye forge, another bears
Sow seed,-but let no tyrant reap
Find wealth,-let no impostor heap
Weave robes,-let not the idle wear
Forge arms,-in your defence to bear
Shrink to your cellars, holes, and cells
In halls ye deck another dwells
Why shake the chains ye wrought
Ye see the steel ye tempered glance on ye
With plough and spade, and hoe and loom
Trace your grave, and build your tomb
And weave your winding sheet, till fair
England be your sepulchre
 
15. William Brown (by Arthur Hagg )
A nice young man was William Brown
He worked for a wage in a Yorkshire town
He turned a wheel from left to right
From eight at morning till six at night
[Chorus]
Now keep that wheel a-turning
Keep that wheel a-turning
Keep that wheel a-turning
And do a little more each day

The boss one day to William came
Look here, he said, young what's your name
We're far from pleased with what you do
So hurry that wheel or out you go!
[Chorus]
So William turned and he made her run
Three times round in the place of one
He worked so hard he was quickly made
The Lord High Turner of his trade[Chorus]
His fame spread wide o'er hill and dale
His face appeared in the Daily Mail
Cheap coach trips were organised
All to gaze at the lad's blue eyes[Chorus]
Still William turned with a saintly smile
The goods he made grew such a pile
They filled his room and the room next door
And overflowed to the basement floor
[Chorus]
But sad the sequel now to tell
With profits raised the boss could sell
To take-over group from London Town
The first redundant case was Brown!
[Chorus]
Now he's in the queue a-waiting
He's in the queue a-waiting
He's in the queue a-waiting
And he gets a little thinner each day
[Chorus]
Now workers don't be such a clown
But take a tip from William Brown
If you work too hard you'll surely be
Wiser but poorer same as he
[Chorus]
For he's in the queue a-waiting
He's in the queue a-waiting
He's in the queue a-waiting
And he gets a little thinner each day
 
 
16. Kevin Barry (who died 01/11/20)
In Mountjoy jail one Monday morning
High upon the gallows tree
Kevin Barry gave his young life
For the cause of liberty
But a lad of eighteen summers
Yet no one can deny
As he walked to death that morning
He proudly held his head up high
[Chorus]
Shoot me like an Irish soldier
Do not hand me like a dog
For I fought for free old Ireland
On that bright September morn
All around that little bakery
Where we fought them hand to hand
Shoot me like an Irish soldier
For I fought for free old Ireland
Just before he faced the hangman
In his lonely prison cell
British soldiers tortured Barry
Just because he would not tell
The names of his companions
Other things they wished to know
Turn informer, and we will free you
Kevin Barry answered no
[Chorus]
Another martyr for old Ireland
Another murder for the crown
Whose brutal laws may kill the Irish
But can't keep their spirit down
Lads like Barry are no cowards

From the foe they will not fly
Lads like Barry will free Ireland
For her sake they'll live and die
 
17. I Am A Merry Ploughboy
I am a merry ploughboy
And I plough the fields by day
But a certain thought came into my head
And I think I'll run away
I've always hated slavery
Since the day I was born
So I'm off to join the IRA
And I'm off tomorrow morn
[Chorus]
So I'm off to Dublin In the green in the green
Where the helmets glisten in the sun
And the bayonets flash and the rifles crash
To rattle of the Thompson gun
I'll leave behind my pick and spade
And I'll leave behind my plough
And I'll leave behind my old grey mare
For I'll never need her now
I'll take my short revolver
And my bandolier of lead
And do or die I can but try
To avenge my country's dead
[Chorus]
I'll leave behind my Mary
She's the girl I do adore
I hope that she will wait for me
When she hears the rifles road
And when the war is over
And good old Ireland's free
I'll take her to church to wed
And a rebel's wife she'll be
[Chorus]